A professional network is a powerful tool in the arsenal of any Paralegal, and there is no reason why yours should suffer while many of us continue to work remotely. Boost your network and enhance your career prospects from the comfort of your own home with these top tips from specialist job board TotallyLegal.
Key to the success of any Paralegal are networking and relationship building. Forging connections with peers, employers and industry influencers can lead to the discovery of career opportunities that are not formally advertised, or lay the foundation for client or business partnerships.
Of course, traditional networking takes place at face-to-face meetings, events, and conferences - none of which are happening at the moment. However, there are many ways to grow and nurture your network virtually. Here are some of our favourites.
Engage with social media in the right way
Although it can be a time sink and distraction, used in the right way social media can be an effective remote networking tool.
The best social media platforms and apps to use for networking depend on things like the types of connections you want to make and what you want to get out of them, so do some research into Facebook and LinkedIn groups, as well as career focused Subreddits, to find the communities best suited to your needs.
Once you are in, start engaging with the group and get your name known among other active members. Share relevant articles, comment on others’ posts and get involved with conversations that interest you.
To get started, we suggest joining the TotallyLegal LinkedIn group to network with over 1,400 other legal professionals and the Institute of Paralegals’ UK Paralegal Forum to connect with 2,400 other Paralegals.
Look for opportunities to help others
The best way to make a good first impression on a potential new connection is to offer help or a solution to a problem they are having.
If someone asks for advice or a recommendation in one of the LinkedIn groups or Subreddits that you have joined and you are able to help, then do so! The person asking the question and anyone else reading or commenting on the post will remember you for your expertise and helpfulness.
Remember, you can provide solutions before someone has asked for help. If you think two of your clients could benefit from working together, introduce them via email. If you find a useful online tool, share it in the online groups you are a part of.
Networking is all about putting in more than you expect to get out, so be as helpful as you can in the present to reap future rewards.
Get your name out there
We have already suggested making yourself a trusted voice on social media, but why not take this a step further and start your own blog? If you have expertise as a Paralegal in your niche and important things to say, a blog is a free and easy way to get your voice heard.
Once your audience begins to grow, Paralegals and other relevant professionals will be coming to you for advice, solutions and, importantly, because they want to be a part of your network. If you do not have time to start your own blog but would like to author some useful content, existing industry blogs - such as the TotallyLegal career advice blog - often publish guest posts.
If writing is not really your thing, there are plenty of other opportunities for getting your name known by potential connections. For example, you could contact a legal publication and offer to do an interview about your niche expertise, or even start a podcast for Paralegals.
Nurture your existing network
One of the best things you can do for your network while working from home is to nurture the connections and relationships you already have.
Clients who do not have work for you at the moment will eventually require legal services again, and when the time comes, they will likely be calling on those who reached out to them to check in even when work had dried up.
We also recommend checking in with university alumni, colleagues you do not regularly work with and other connections you’ve made over your career just to see how they are doing. Any of these people could be the catalyst for your next career opportunity, so it is worth sending them a quick “How are you?”
Plan for the future
There are some aspects of networking that just cannot happen right now. Conferences are off the table and it would be irresponsible to meet with your connections in person - but that does not mean you cannot plan for the future.
With the government’s proposed roadmap out of lockdown underway, many postponed events will hopefully be going ahead in the near future. Do your research and find out which conferences you want to attend and which people you want to connect with. Think about the businesses you want to work for, the clients you want to bring on board and the influential individuals that you would like to have on side, then target your networking efforts accordingly.
Attend virtual networking events
In the meantime, we strongly advise all Paralegals to take advantage of the many virtual networking opportunities and events that have cropped up in place of cancelled conferences and meetings.
The Institute of Paralegals is hosting monthly Paralegal Webinar & Virtual Networking Events throughout the rest of 2021. Free to attend and packed with useful insights and networking opportunities, these are not to be missed. Find out more here.